Where to from here?
The QMS has been at the heart of New
Zealand’s fisheries management system for many years and through it
sustainable catch limits have been set for key stocks.
Just over 20 years after its
introduction, there are 97 species groups managed in the QMS, divided
into 629 fishstocks. Research is done to determine the status of
stocks against maximum sustainable yield (MSY) targets. This work is
done on 85 stocks and 72 of these have been assessed as being at or
near MSY-related target levels. These represent most of the main
commercial stocks. Total allowable catch levels for the remaining 13
stocks have been set at levels that should enable them to rebuild. There are rebuild strategies
in place for a number of fisheries, including some snapper, hoki,
orange roughy and red cod stocks. If necessary, fisheries can be
closed to allow them to recover, as has happened with the Challenger
and Puysegur orange roughy fisheries and, most recently, west coast
South Island orange roughy and Marlborough blue cod. Mostly, however,
it is a matter of lowering the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) to ensure
more fish are left in the water to breed.
Although MFish and fishers have learned
a lot about how fish stocks behave and rebuild, and about the wider
fisheries environment, up until now that knowledge has been sitting
in different places.So a series of fisheries plans are
being developed to bring this information together and help people
get the best value from each fishery. The fisheries plan process
involves the whole sector.
Value can mean:
- value to the country’s economy
through smart management of fisheries cultural and traditional values
- value to communities that catch
and process fish
- recreational values for people who
fish for food or fun
- the value people place on the
aquatic environment increasing the monetary value of
There are currently eight Fisheries
Plans Advisory Groups working on the following fisheries: Northland
scallops, west coast North Island finfish, Gisborne/east coast rock
lobster, Challenger finfish (Nelson/west coast South Island),
southern shellfish, Fiordland paua, middle depth/deepwater, and
highly migratory species.
Advisory groups are made up of
customary, commercial and recreational fishers, environmental
interests, and MFish staff. One of the first tasks is to review a
stock’s current status and the way it is managed. The group will
then develop objectives for the fishery, decide how the effectiveness
of management will be measured and identify the services, such as
research and enforcement, that are needed to meet those objectives.
The advisory group members discuss this
work with other members of their sector, ensuring contributions come
from a wide range of sources. When a plan is finished, a process
that’s expected to take one to two years for each plan, it will go
to the Minister of Fisheries for approval.
The Ministry of Fisheries divides the
country into Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs). FMAs allow fisheries
to be managed at a finer scale, taking into account regional
differences in fish numbers and types of fishing.